Hello folks, as this post comes out to you on the third day of Diwali, I thought I'd wish those of you who celebrate lots of love and light in the year ahead. I lit a couple of diyas in my porch, just in case the Goddess of Wealth comes a-calling - who knows, this year, it might be our turn for a visit!
I spent most of this week in London and while I was there on business, I managed to use some of my time off having fun and seeing some interesting sights.
Mike and I had as afternoon wandering around Camden Market, eating at the colourful food stalls and looking into all the kitschy stalls, trying on hats and generally having ourselves a great time. We ended up in a restaurant and bar called Shaka Zulu - the place was so overrun with artefacts, even Africa probably doesn't look so determinedly African. Kitsch never looked so good (or should that read bad??). I felt that I needed to photograph almost everything, everywhere I turned, there was yet another image waiting to be clicked. In a way I'm glad the lights were dimmed low - the place probably needs hundreds of people to dust it and a ray of sunlight illuminating a cobweb would have taken the shine off it somewhat.
Camden High Street was colourful too, I love the quirky vibe of the place and that one might see almost anything, anytime! A Mad Hatter was having his own little tea party and anyone who fancied herself in the role of Alice was welcome to join the fun and see what happened.
And then on to the Jazz Cafe, where they had a fabulous show called Sunday Soul. We got there when doors opened just before six and found a little ledge to sit on and rest our weary legs, tired from tramping around Camden. The other people at the cafe didn't seem to mind standing around for hours and hours, but I'm afraid we wouldn't have been able to. It was certainly a fabulous band and they played some great music that night.
Historians are still arguing about the major cause of World War I (better known as The Great War or WW1), thought to be caused by a great many elements, some long-term and some short-term. Together these reasons created a brutal war involving many countries across the globe and killing a vast number of the world’s population. England, Germany, France and Russia, along with others, all wanted to expand their 'Empires'.
The murder of the Archduke and heir to the throne of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, was the putative 'spark', because it gave Austria an excuse to attack Serbia as it tried to increase its borders by annexing another nation.
Historians have maintained that the word MAIN summarises the main issues surrounding the cause of the First World War:
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was a display in 2014 marking one hundred years since Britain entered into the First World War. Each poppy represented a fatality during the war and throughout the summer they added more and more poppies to the display. The poppies were ceramic and handmade using techniques which were used by potters during the First World War.
Every year, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, people fall silent in the UK to mark Armistice day. For a month before, red poppies are sold to benefit the Royal British Legion which cares for war veterans and the words 'Lest We Forget' are used over and over.
And then, the arms barons rub their hands with glee as we go off and join yet another war, bombing Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen, murdering and killing in the name of good - yet the mnemonic MAIN more or less still holds good. There's never been a war fought over principles - they have always been about the accumulation of wealth and power and all the jingoism in the world cannot hide that fact. And yet, year on year, people let their kids join armies around the world, poor kids who know no better, set to become pawns in the game of 'Supremacy' and no more than cannon fodder.
For all the rhetoric in the world, I'm afraid we've still gorn and forgotten!!
As the nation commemorates the centenary of the end of the First World War, a new installation at the Tower of London, Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers will fill the moat with thousands of individual flames: a public act of remembrance for the lives of the fallen, honouring their sacrifice.
We got there too late to watch the lighting ceremony, but in time to see the lit torches and the poor Beefeater left out in the cold, lit up to cast a strategic spooky shadow on the Tower - Lest We Forget. I felt sorry for the poor Beefeater shivering in the cold November night as we took ourselves off to Coppa, a really cute restaurant around the corner from the Tower with little warm pods under a netting of lights.
Intarsia is a term that is used to describe stone inlay, where pieces of similar thickness are cut and shaped to fit closely together without spaces or gaps, forming a pictorial or geometric design. The Latin term, pietre dure, is essentially stone marquetry, which first appeared in Rome in the 16th century and reached maturity in Florence. The stones are loosely assembled and then each one is glued in place to a base, typically of marble, obsidian, onyx, jade, granite, quartz, or even ceramic.
Intarsia differs from mosaics and micromosaics, where small piece of glass, stone, shell, or bone are set into a mortar with grout in between the pieces.
With intarsia, the pieces are different shapes, sizes, and material; no grout or mortar is used; and the cutting must be exact so that there are no spaces or gaps between the stones. How amazing is that!!!
I just love the idea that this little piece of stone in my hot little hand has been cut and set by a lapidary's nimble fingers into a piece of one of a kind, intricate art, and I am humbled to be able to use it in my jewellery. I set one in a bezel of tiny beads and proceeded to turn it into a seascape.
The pendant will be triangular with lush fronds of a 'coral' reef dangling from it and I have some very interesting beads that are earmarked for the necklace. Having spent quite a few days in London this week, I haven't had time to finish this piece, but I'll have it for you next week. Here are some preliminary pictures of the work in progress.
That's me for this week, folks. It has been a fun, but exhausting week and I have yet a few more days to go as I have house guests over the weekend to celebrate Diwali mainly by stuffing ourselves silly with food and drink. Have a fabulous week, and I shall catch you next week, same time, same place.
Good day, good folks on the internet, I'm so happy to catch up with you again this week.
Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat - 53 days now, and everyone is getting their gifts together.
As usual, Caprilicious will offer a free parcel wrapping service, so if you need that, please let me know when you pay for your item. I will also include a card, with any message you wish to add (the only thing I cannot promise is neat and tidy handwriting, but I will do my best!)
I've just realised that Caprilicious Jewellery will be seven years old this November - wow, seven long years have gone by and I'm still at it! And I have no plans to stop for the foreseeable future as I'm enjoying myself so much, and as long as I have you to encourage me in my endeavours to make interesting and fun pieces I will go on! I generally take stock at this time of year. I started out as a jewellery school drop out, went on to simple beading and necklace making, wire work, polymer clay and resin, metal clay, soutache, fold forming and soldering and now have set off on a journey into bead work jewellery. I now use all of these modalities and sometimes try to use more than one in a piece, which turns them into mixed media pieces.
The jewellery all comes out of my imagination, and because I like to incorporate unusual and handmade elements, conceived and made entirely at Caprilicious, I never find anyone attempting to copy me. As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and to imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment in my opinion (and I know that others differ) I wonder sometimes whether I should feel a bit offended that no one tries to imitate Caprilicious, and then I know that I'm happy this way.
I finished a piece of jewellery I started the week before. Bubbles is a wire doodle necklace, where I have filled negative space with a wire doodle that to my eye looks likes a froth of bubbles. It seemed like it would be an easy piece to make when I started out, but in fact it turned out to be very tedious and time consuming.I made it with mixed metals, both of them enamel coated and therefore tarnish free. A little cabochon of druzy agate was anchored to one side with a wire rose and leaf and a handmade chain finished the piece off beautifully. This will be a piece that can be worn to work as it is very simple, and can even be worn over a roll neck by simply increasing the length of the extender chain so that the piece hangs a bit lower. Of course, it will look lovely on an evening out, so it is very versatile.
I've been beading around Swarovski rivolis to make a fairly complicated necklace while watching TV all week, but that piece may take a while yet. I ran out of Rivolis and have sent for some more, by the time I finish this piece, I will be well experienced at beading around cabochons. I also made some polymer clay flower beads, and the challenge is now to find places to incorporate them, of course, there's no hurry and they can sit and wait a while in a box that is full of beads that I made earlier.
The raw amethyst points in this necklace have been sitting in my stash for over a year. I received the micro pave diamante butterflies in the post this morning and was instantly smitten and just had to use a couple of them the same day. I think sometimes elements speak to me, begging to be used and I cannot deny them. And so was born this sweet necklace. I wondered whether the butterflies would look good with a darker bead, but of course I can make that next time - the amethyst was shrieking for attention and when I closed my eyes, I could see exactly what the necklace would look like. Flirtatious Frou Frou, the butterfly necklace! The light flashes off the butterflies and they are quite difficult to photograph - but believe me, they are very, very pretty.
Payday Deal Announcement - Happy Birthday Caprilicious!
So here it is - the big Birthday Announcement
As it is a birthday month, I am going to celebrate in style. In the past I did a giveaway and only one person got lucky and I think seven years deserves a damn good blowout. So this year, I'm going to offer a Code for 20% off any piece of jewellery, from the 1st to the 7th of every month till November 2019. The code will be advertised on this page, my Instagram feed and Facebook page in the last week of every month, and hopefully more than one person will benefit from Caprilicious' birthday happiness. Spread a Little Happiness, I say, and why not? The code cannot be used with any other offers, of course, and I'm sure you will understand why. Depending on the vagaries of my mood and the weather, the offer will extend to just one or two pieces of jewellery, or all the pieces on the website - this month, it extends to all the jewellery on the Caprilicious website.
The code till the 7th of November is HappyBirthday.
Beat the festive rush and get all your gifts and parcels in the post on time in the UK. I send international parcels out by courier so the last date depends on the couriers.
Royal Mail last post timings for 2018
Tuesday 18 December
That's me for another week, folks. I am in London for some of next week, but I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Good day, good people, and welcome back. Arctic winds are a-blowing and Halloween is on it's way. We turn the clocks back this weekend and it will be dark earlier and earlier - the only thing to remember that it doesn't last and spring will soon be back. In the meantime, Christmas will soon be here and is just around the corner - as of today there are sixty days left!
I'd like to take a moment to wish the new iteration of the Mitchell Gallery well - the art gallery in Warwick where I have displayed my jewellery for over a year has given way to an interesting and potentially lucrative initiative and a spanking new and beautiful website, allowing the artists time to paint as well as be involved with the sales side of things. I have been invited to display some of my jewellery at the Hampton Manor Christmas Fayre and if anyone is in the area, do come along and take a look, it sounds like it will be fabulous. This time, I will just deliver the goods to Toni and Tom, and they will be displayed and sold by the gallery, so I don't have to do any of the hard work. They have a spanking new website, and I am deeply honoured to be listed as one of their "selection of emerging and internationally-renowned painters, sculptors and designers".
I have been totally seduced by bead embroidery this week and have decided that that is the way forward for me. The technique called 'Painting with Beads' attracts me, filling a negative space with colourful beads is so much fun that I am absolutely smitten. I made a bracelet with hand carved carnelian flowers. The bracelet is covered with leather on one side and ultrasuede on the other, and sandwiched between the two layers is an aluminium cuff blank. It isn't much fun to stitch through leather, and I used half a dozen needles. By the time I was done the needles were bent completely out of shape.
I 'painted' away merrily with little gemstone nuggets and seed beads, embellished the bracelet and generally had a fun time doing it. I think it looks great, would you agree?
I found the diamante pendant in this necklace quite by accident, while I was looking for something else altogether. I fell in love with the rectangular piece of green quartz, as well as the scroll work around the quartz, carrying the diamante' and the integral bead cap to hold a tassel. I sent away for green onyx beads to match the quartz, and made a tassel of seed pearls - while I was collecting the beads together I found a baroque green crystal pendant, so I used that as well, right at the centre of the tassel.
Katerina or Catherine the Great was Empress of Russia in the eighteenth century - she was a wise and ruthless woman who took the throne from her husband Peter the Third in a coup d'etat. She wore the most beautiful baroque jewellery, and was known to be fond of emeralds. The necklace I made was inspired by images of these pieces of jewellery and is ideal for the festive season, as well as being perfect to carry to destination weddings and parties where one would be anxious about carrying precious jewels.
I've played with other little bits and bobs, a few beads in polymer clay when someone who bought a necklace for her friend asked me to make earrings to match, and some practice with bead embroidery around Swarovski Rivolis. I'm working all weekend, so may not have too much time to play with beads and baubles, however, I'll catch you next week, same time, same place. Have a great week, folks,
Hello good people, how are you? Hurtling towards winter as we are, I'm not looking forward to the cold and the dark, especially as we will be putting the clock back at the end of the month. The heating is on at home and we are snuggling under the duvets, trying to stay warm for longer. However, we still have the festive period to come - if it weren't for Christmas, it would be so dull by the time December arrives.
'Persian Pickles' or Paisley
The original Persian droplet-like motif – the boteh or buta – is thought to have been a representation of a floral spray combined with a cypress tree, a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. The seed-like shape is also thought to represent fertility, has connections with Hinduism, and also bears an intriguing resemblance to the famous yin-yang symbol. It is still a hugely popular motif in Iran and South and Central Asian countries and is woven using silver and gold threads on to silks and fine wool for weddings and other celebrations.
Imports from the East India Company via the ‘silk routes’ brought the textile pattern to Europe in the 18th century, and following the arrival of luxurious Kashmir shawls some of which were very expensive, the pattern took the continent by storm. The shawls were soon imitated throughout Europe, mainly in Wales and the town of Paisley in Scotland. From that point onward the English term for the motif was ‘paisley’, though it is also known in the United States among quilt-makers as ‘Persian pickles’ or in the Welsh textile industry as ‘Welsh pears’.
Arthur Liberty, William Morris and the Arts-and-Crafts movement adapted the print, and it became an integral part of the Aesthetic Movement and the Art Nouveau Movement – shorthand for sophisticated, arty bohemianism. The Beatles, in the 60's once again revived the pattern by wearing it at their concerts and it became emblematic of the ‘summer of love’ and the aesthetic of the psychedelic era. Various designers have insisted that it has a deep meaning, that it symbolises the tree of life, the seed palm, thus fertility and it has remained exotic and cool with a rock vibe.
So, that's the background of my 'Persian Pickle'. When I was growing up, my mother called it the 'mango', which was as fanciful as she got. While I was researching the paisley I read that it could signify halved fresh figs, mangoes, gourds, licks of flame, or Cypress trees (sacred to the Zoroastrians); kidneys, tadpoles, tear drops, pears, or sperm! I even came across a Jehovah's Witness message board that wanted paisley to be "taboo" because it is considered a representation of sperm! What?? Have they ever looked down a telescope at a sperm? I have, and it is definitely not paisley shaped!!
I decided to release two of the pieces of labradorite I bought in Jaipur a few years ago, into the world. The paisley pattern appealed and with inspiration from Kinga Nichols, I started out on a paisley pattern I drew on a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff (not a made up Harry Potterish name, I promise).
That took the bulk of an evening, and I then started to fill in the gaps around the labradorite with tiny seed beads the next day. The labradorite is a startlingly deep blue when held up to the light, otherwise it is a dull grey. Another couple of evenings of zen enjoyment went by.
Finally, the paisley was filled in to my satisfaction and I encircled it with diamante cup chain and soutache braids and made a little flourish at the top of the 'mango'. Somewhere along the line, I decided I was going to hang the finished pendant on a blue necklace cord and hang citrine nuggets from the pendant.
Before I could do that I had to decide how the paisley was going to be hung - and after a long period of deliberation I made a final decision. This was very important as I needed to sew in the jump rings for the citrine dangles, and cover them with a layer of felt, and then another layer of ultrasuede. Once that die was cast, there would be no going back!
On day four, I added to loops to use as bails to hang the necklace - as I wanted the pendant to hang asymmetrically, the loops had to differ in length, and I decided to go all the way and make them in different colours. I liked the way the pendant was shaping up when I hung it from a knob on my beading lamp, but the green bail looked a bit stark. I added blue tassels with seed beads and Czech glass petals, taking inspiration from Kay Bonitz. The seed beads in this piece are all 15/0 which are smaller than 1mm in diameter and 11/0 which are 1mm - not terribly good for the eyes, fingers and feet. Feet?? you ask? Yes, they are so tiny they often fall from your hands to the floor, and it is inadvisable to walk around in bare feet. It certainly hurts like hell if one is trod on because they are invisible when so far away.
The Finished 'Pickle' - Perfectly Paisley!!
So here it is, the finished article. It is looking for that perfectly flamboyant woman who will love it's high visibility.
One of my customers asked how it hung on a real person, so I whipped on a shawl and took a quick picture and here it is. I think it would look much better on a dark, high necked little black dress, and I'll leave you to use your imagination to produce that image.
That's me for this week, folks. This pendant took me five evenings to make and I had no time for anything else. I do enjoy the beadwork, it is a lot of fun to watch the piece grow and evolve. When I start out, perhaps on Day 2-3, it looks awful, and I often have to put it away for a few days before I can face picking it up again. This piece, however, was a delight to bead from the start, so it flowed beautifully.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, I hope you've had a great week and thanks for coming back to take a look at Caprilicious. It's a horrible rainy, windy day out there and it seems like it's time to snuggle under the duvet and stay put all day. It's a good thing I have Caprilicious to get out of bed for this morning or I probably wouldn't have bothered as it is my day off.
It's a sad day today, as we have to cut down our tree on the front of the house. When we bought the house, the previous owner had it looking like a car park, with nothing but hard standing on the front so that his family could all get their cars off the road. We put in all the greenery you see in the photograph, but unfortunately, the tree to the left of the picture, now ten years old has invasive surface roots which are now encroaching on the house. It has to be chopped down, the roots dug up with a small digger as this particular tree can grow back from any roots left behind, and the paving that has gone all higgledy piggledy because of the surface roots has to be replaced.
If we'd known this earlier - like when we asked the guy at the garden centre before we bought it as a sapling - we'd never have bought our Gleditsia - Oh well, we've enjoyed it for ten years!
Getting in the mood for autumn this week, I picked up a hank of cloud agate. The notion of a cloud being captured in a stone always enchants me and I love this beautiful grey agate. I added bright turquoise blue magnesite and made a necklace called Cloudy Skies. It's almost as if I reached out of an aeroplane and condensed a handful of cloud into this necklace.
I was playing with clay, trying to finish off all the old clay I brought back home from a three day extravaganza called Polymania earlier on in the year and ended up with the flowers in this necklace. They reminded me of the Japanese anemones that come up in my garden in late August - they are very pretty, but the plant is so invasive, it sends out deep sucker roots that take over any flower bed. I spend most of summer pulling up the plant, and yet get a beautiful display of the anemones come August. They are so pretty, I cannot bring myself to dig up the flower bed to start again, sans anemone.
I had two malas of Rudraksh beads, acquired during a trip to India, and I thought this would be an ideal time to use some of the beads, this being autumn and a time for seeds and nuts. The rudraksh is meant to be a sacred seed that has many mythical metaphysical qualities. The seed can have up to fourteen segments, called 'faces', and each number of faces have their own significance and worn for a different metaphysical cure. I know none of these things, of course, just that the beads are interesting and different. If you wish to read a bit more about the tree, I have a link to an informative blog right here for you. Sadhus cover themselves in garlands of these beads, to dress like their boss, Lord Shiva, who was the greatest mendicant/sadhu of all time. Apparently, when Shiva once woke up from a period of meditation, he shed a tear, and this (when it fell to the ground, thankfully) grew into a rudraksh tree. Sadhus hope that if they wear the rudraksh beads, they will curry favour with the boss man. Legend has it that Indira Gandhi wore a rudraksh with one face, which is extremely rare and expensive and wore it at all times. We all know how much luck that brought her - or perhaps she'd slipped it off her neck on that fateful day!
Apart from the malas, I've seen jewellery made with these seeds in India, heavily encrusted with gold and occasionally silver, but I'm proud to have found a very contemporary and one off way of wearing these beads that is different from anything I've ever seen. The beads I brought back are smaller than usual, and I added lashings of crystals to bring a bit of brightness to the brown of the necklace which of course, was not colourful enough for Caprilicious without the extra oomph! A few red resin roses, and some teardrop orange coral beads left over from another necklace contributed to the colour factor in this piece.
The Pursuit of Happiness
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
This is part of the American Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776. This necklace makes me happy! The green aventurine raw nugget beads, the beautiful Mandala pendant from Nepal, the whole thing came together effortlessly.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” –Anna Wintour
Hello folks, how have you been? It is as always nice to see you again, and thank you for reading the Caprilicious blog. If you're a new reader, do follow the blog using the Bloglovin' link in the sidebar and drop me a line in the comments, it's always lovely to speak to people.
A woman with attitude rules the world. She has a certain sultry attractiveness, a mindset that takes no sh*t and a stubbornness that can only be loved; it is safe to say that women like this hold great power. Not for her the fluttering eyelashes and coy dropping of the handkerchief, waiting for some poor sap to came along and pick it up. That sort of a fool wouldn't be attractive to her anyway. Strong colours and a lack of fear of exuding a style of her very own - that's a woman with attitude, and she rocks! I am fortunate to have met a number of such women since I set up Caprilicious Jewellery and they have become part of the Caprilicious family.
I read a blogpost by Joanna Meriwether called "Are you a Woman with Attitude?" and her thoughts so resonate with mine.
An Arabian Nights Dream
This week I reminded myself how much fun it is to knot a pearl necklace, rather than threaded on beading wire. The only problem with this method is that the necklace cannot be resized. I tried this out because I acquired a bunch of detachable bails so a pendant can be hung on a necklace when required. This gives the necklace a degree of versatility as it can be worn both during the day and night. I picked up some diamante bead caps at the same time, so I made an asymmetrical tassel with crystals and amethyst beads to hang on the silvery baroque pearl necklace. Of course, the tassel pendant can easily be used with another necklace if desired.
Nuggets of raw green aventurine and shiny black agate beads provide texture, contrast and colour in this simple yet effective piece. The nuggets are in a very soothing shade of green.
As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, I need a regular wire fix to keep me happy. This week, I made a little pendant out of tarnish resistant coated copper wire, intending to hang it on a necklace of bone beads. I ended up adding a load of crystal beads and turning the pendant so shiny and evening worthy, that the bone beads did not look right at all with it. One look at the bone and the pendant screamed in outrage and demanded something shiny to go with.
A quick change of plan and I put it with quartz needles and tiny clear crystals - I think it looks very pretty now. I've found a supplier in Vietnam, of all places, who sells the most beautiful little box clasps and one of these with a blue topaz was added to this necklace.
I have booked tickets to India early in the New Year and already people are booking the pieces they would like me to carry back for them. Added to that it is soon the festive season and I have a few pieces booked into a boutique and some more at an exhibition at the end of November. I'm also booked to be in London for work for a few days in November. All in all, it promises to be an exciting and busy time of year - and of course there are only 81 days left to Christmas!!
That's me for now folks, have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you this week? It is as always lovely to speak to you. I've had a long weekend off work and am feeling so much better, my knees are almost back to normal. As I've been at home, with nothing to do I made a few pieces of jewellery to keep myself busy. Without meaning to, I've made three necklaces, each of them so different from the last that it may be difficult to identify that one person made all three. I know that at business management classes we are told about branding, and how anyone should be able to say '..x... made this piece' when they look at the jewellery made by a designer. I'm not sure if you get that vibe from my necklaces, or do you? Please write in and tell me. All I know is that my moods often leach into the colours I pick and the jewellery I design and I think that it must be right as the the ethos of Caprilicious Jewellery is to make jewellery for every mood a woman might have! Anyway, I'd be bored silly if I had to make the same thing over and over again, each day, every week.
Whenever I have a bit of time, I make a bunch of polymer clay beads, the simpler the better. They go into a little biscuit tin that lives on top of my buffing wheel. I rummage through it occasionally and when I have enough of the beads I need, I use them in a piece of jewellery. I have beads that have lived in there for over three years. I made the pink and yellow beads from a sheet of clay I rolled out at Polymania in Bristol two years ago, at a class by Jana Roberts Benzon. She teaches this beautiful technique and I'm loath to throw away any of the beautiful veneers she taught us to create. I used the last bits to make these two beads and they've been with me ever since. The black/grey ones were made with clay left over from last years Polymania and the birdies for which the necklace is named, somewhere in between times.
I always think that winter deserves a colourful necklace, and if it is long, so much the better to wear over roll neck tops and closed collars.
Colourful little cloisonne dragonflies chase each other over this torque necklace. The torque is meant to sit over the collarbones, not particularly close to the neck. It is made of wire wound over a very thick wire, with even more wire fixing the dragonflies to it, marking out the tortuous track of a dragonflies flight path. The handmade clasp and extender chain at the back has beads that come from the opposite end of the colour wheel to the dragonflies, adding interest to the piece.
Once I'd started with wire, there was no stopping me, my wire addiction was in full cry. I pulled out a tutorial written by the diva of wirework tutorials, Nicole Hanna - I swear that girl writes one tutorial a fortnight at least, in between photographing her cats, writing poetry, binge watching Game of Thrones on Netflix and managing her family and writing a blog. I had an idea what I wanted to do with it and a string of abalone beads, and here's what I envisioned (more or less)!! This one works with nine lengths of the thicker gauge wire, bound together with miles and miles of fine wire. The woven wire strips thus formed divide and rejoin each other, twisting and folding on themselves over and over again. It is quite a feat ending eighteen wires on the back of the piece in a tidy manner and I'm proud to say I managed it - if the pendant should turn over in error, the back would look almost as good as the front, and definitely tidy, with no pokey - outey bits to irritate the wearer!
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Good day folks, thanks for coming back to Caprilicious for a look at my week. The weather has been vile, with two named storms hitting us back to back bringing gale force winds strong enough to kill a woman sleeping peacefully in her caravan, by flipping it over a cliff. Fortunately that was a rare occurrence, but the wind was wild and wooly, and scary.
This week was extremely hectic, my mother was unwell and I almost flew back to India - I had actually booked tickets to fly out for a couple of weeks, causing all sorts of disruption at work, only to be told that she was OK and that I wasn't needed. I cancelled my tickets, and went back to my colleagues sheepishly, announcing the reversal of my decision. Oh well, couldn't be helped. The minute I knew I wasn't flying back into a SH1T storm, I heaved a sigh of relief and picked up some beads.
I've had a couple of strings of ammonites for ages, and used them sparingly putting them into my soutache pieces in dribs and drabs. I love them because they are so ancient - it feels great to use an ancient item, that was once a live creature into my jewellery. They have shiny shells, that are translucent, with a beautiful shimmer in their depths. Ammonites were marine animals belonging to the phylum Mollusca and the class Cephalopoda. They had a coiled external shell similar to that of the modern nautilus.
They are beautiful when cut in half, and the shiny part of their outer shells form Ammolite which is almost opal like in its iridescence.
Early works of natural history compared the coiled form of the ammonite with that of a serpent, and ammonites became widely known as snakestone. They take their name from the Egyptian god Amun, known to the Greeks as Zeus Ammon.This god is depicted on Cyrean coins and in sculpture by a head with curling ram's horns. Many genera of ammonites have names ending in -ceras from the Greek word 'keras' meaning horn.
I am totally in awe of their age and think it's an honour to be able to wear them in jewellery, apart from their obvious beauty. I'm sorry that the YouTube film I've added is a bit simplistic, but I thought it showed exactly what happens to the ammonites to turn them into fossils in a very simple way.
The pendant is so very tribal, and so are the arrowheads, and I put them with spikes of dyed blue howlite. This was a sort of random selection during a routine rummage, an 'I'll add this, and what about these, and Oh! this might do as well' sort of a collection of beads and baubles, and I was totally surprised by the outcome. I love it, it turned out to be really pretty.
That's me for this week folks, the parental situation has exhausted me somewhat and depleted my energies. It is strange to suddenly realise that you're all grown up and have to assume responsibility for another person (never having had children, I know nothing of this) and in fact you're the grownup! Hmm, better late than never, I s'pose. I intend to catch up on my sleep, and pamper my poor arthritic knees all weekend.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how's tricks? I've been a lady of leisure this week, nursing my poorly knee at home, and it seems to be responding to all the TLC I've been bestowing upon it. My husband has been waiting on me hand and foot, and I could get used to this way of life, except that I would turn into a big fat hippopotamus if I sat on my bottom any more. While I've been at home, I've made quite a few pieces of jewellery - better this, than the devil making work for idle hands!
These beads were in my mail when I got home from Madrid - they are frosted opalite glass, and have an aurora borealis coating on one side. When they rotate on the beading wire and the light catches them they shine with an unearthly glow - I just love them. I made simple necklaces with beautiful clasps, using little seed beads as spacers. There are two necklaces - one of them is a pale white, and the other is grey. The paler one is already spoken for, but I actually prefer the darker one. What do you think??
Kalachakra literally means The Wheel of Time - the tradition revolves around the concept of time (kāla) and cycles (chakra): from the cycles of the planets to the cycles of human breathing, and it teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies within one's body on the path to nirvana. I'm afraid I'm too much of a simpleton to understand the depths of these spiritual arguments, all I know is that these ghau boxes are particularly beautiful (and expensive). I've been looking out for one of them in my price range for ages and ages, and when this one came up, I snapped it up. This was the vendors last one unfortunately, and he didn't think he'd have any more anytime soon. I wanted the pendant to be the focal point, so I made a very simple necklace to carry it.
'I haven't made anything with wire in ages,' I thought, so I picked up a frosted grey crackled agate and set it in a wire surround - I had a tiny cloisonne dragonfly from China, and I wired it onto the pendant. Here's one of my favourites, Laura Fygi singing Fly Me to the Moon, in French - it was of course one of Frank SInatra's numbers and is very much a classic. The pendant is based on a Nicole Hanna design - I cut too much wire and ended up making more swirls and layers than the original design, but I wasn't going to waste the wire I'd cut, no siree!
Raw citrine nuggets resemble brown cane sugar - the closer the festival season gets in India, the more this form of sugar is available in large blocks so that housewives can make sweets for the household, and for distribution to friends - at least that's the way it was in my childhood. Today, it is much easier to go to a sweet shop and order ready packaged sweets to send out to friends. In a moment of pure nostalgia, I picked up the citrine that had been sitting around for ages. I put them with quartz needles and moldavite and crystal spacers. A little peridot box clasp was a beautiful finishing touch.
And finally ..... Another Ghau Box .....
I love ghau boxes - I think you might have noticed that by now. I think it's the child in me that delights in the thought of an invisible compartment with my little secrets hidden away, while everyone thinks it is just another pendant. Here's another one - it's the last one in my stash, I promise. I made the Buddha mala beads earlier - they are decorated with gold foil and antiqued to give a faux raku look.
That's me for this week, folks. I'm happy to report that my knee is much better. I'm going to work this weekend, and if they stand up to it, I will go back to work full time, next week.
Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you? I hope you've fared better than I have this week gone by. Mike and I went to Madrid on a short pre winter city break, but unfortunately I couldn't enjoy too much of it as one of my knees gave me so much trouble, I sat most of the holiday out. We got back after four days and I'm off to the hospital to have my knees checked out, having seen my GP this afternoon.
Perforce, I spent the whole of the first day relaxing on the roof terrace, soaking up the late summer sun and resting my poorly knee. Fortunately it was a nice place to sit and I wasn't confined to the hotel bedroom, which would have been terrible.
After a couple of days resting on the rooftop and getting a feel for the city in a car driven by a really nice man who spoke perfect English and was able to show us around the city, the knee was marginally better, and we managed to do a bit of sightseeing, with many pit stops in between. Fortunately there were loads of taxis in the city and we flagged them down to ferry us from one place to the next. I even managed a bit of shopping at El Cortes Ingles, which is my favourite place to shop in Spain.
We went to Retiro Park and had churros and hot chocolate at a little kiosk- it was too warm to do much else but I managed a couple of pictures of people enjoying themselves, before we left. We went to the Museo Reina Sofia to see Picasso's Guernica and a couple of Kandinsky's they had hanging there. I couldn't do too much more walking so we ended up at the Westin Palace Hotel for afternoon tea. I'd read so much about the beautiful rotunda in the central dining room that I just had to go and take a look at it.
We went to Les Cafe Chinitas to watch the flamenco dancers, and Cafe Central to listen to a Spanish Brass band, as well as a little place in the Chueca district called El Despertar for some jazz. All the apartments in Madrid seem to have their lights switched off all evening - everyone is out on the streets till late at night - we stayed up every night till about 2am and there were still people walking about on the streets and sitting at the various bars and cafes where food is served till late.
And just as my knee was getting less painful (or, I was managing it better), it was time to come back home, to the GPs surgery and an Xray tomorrow morning. Who knows what's in store - the GP was talking about cortisone injections and I will see an orthopaedic surgeon tomorrow once the X Rays are available.
I'm keeping everything crossed and hopefully things will settle down. Have a fabulous week folks, and I'll catch you next weekend, at the usual time.